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Lawyers specializing in the public domain?

Posted: February 13th, 2018, 9:34 am
by The Burnaby Kid
Hey, sorry if this is the wrong spot, I can repost the question elsewhere if there's a better spot for it.

I've got a question for those hip to the publishing jive. I'm putting together a manuscript that uses a few items from books that are in the public domain. With a couple of them, I'm confident about their status, but with a couple of others, not so much.

As such, I'm looking to find a lawyer who specializes in this sort of thing. None of the titles show up in the relevant searches, but I want to make sure I'm doing things properly and not infringe on anybody's stuff.

All the books are American. I'm outside the States and would have to do stuff via correspondence. I'm willing to explore whatever payment method makes sense.

Thanks if you read this far! Any guidance on where I should start looking, or people I should start contacting?

Re: Lawyers specializing in the public domain?

Posted: February 13th, 2018, 10:56 am
by Richard Kaufman
Anything prior to 1923 is public domain.
You can do searches online back to a certain year, for the rest you have to go to the copyright office and do the search in person.

Re: Lawyers specializing in the public domain?

Posted: February 13th, 2018, 11:16 am
by performer
Just write the idea up in your own words. Ideas are not copyright. The actual wording is. You can still credit the originator.

Re: Lawyers specializing in the public domain?

Posted: February 13th, 2018, 11:20 am
by The Burnaby Kid
Richard,

Given my geographical situation, would that mean I'd be looking to get the services of somebody who lives in Washington DC?

Re: Lawyers specializing in the public domain?

Posted: February 13th, 2018, 11:54 am
by Bill Evans
Send me an email at wevans@cecb.com and I will point you in the right direction.